The Cerny Brothers discuss artistic progress

With their forthcoming album “Sleeping Giant,” the four-piece Americana band The Cerny Brothers are changing their sound. Featuring Robert Cerny, Scott Cerny, Robert Anderson and Alby Hickman, they are evolving into a more electric guitar-heavy, rock-based quartet. The shift in sound, however, was something that happened naturally.

“It was a very unconscious thing,” Robert Cerny said. “We were in the studio and thought a lot of these songs are very electric guitar based and are very driving. They were very different than the last album we did, which was all acoustic instruments.”

The Cerny Brothers previously released “Dream,” but only Robert and Scott Cerny were members of the band then. After parting with their previous bassist, the Cernys met Hickman, who introduced them to Anderson, a friend from the California Institute of the Arts. Though Anderson has not been with the band for long, he has quickly adjusted to being a member.

“This kid’s been with us for a little over a month and after this experience, it just feels so tight,” Hickman said. “There is no more thinking about it anymore  — we just go out there to entertain.”

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The Cerny Brothers recently completed their spring tour with The Giving Tree Band, which gave them the opportunity to practice and perfect playing as a quartet.

“That’s the biggest thing — putting on a show for people,” Hickman said. “If you’re thinking about chord changes or worrying about the next section, you can tell. When you got it down, you can have a great time.”

For The Cerny Brothers, being on the road offered lessons that spanned beyond the stage.

“Music aside, just being with these guys, I feel like we’ve seen everything,” Anderson said. “You definitely don’t learn that in school.”

Scott Cerny also saw touring’s benefits, including how it permits professional and personal growth.

“Being on the road, things get real,” Scott Cerny said. “There’s nowhere to run. If you have a tough show or a tough night, you can’t let everything get to your head.”

The band is now focusing on the May 12 release of “Sleeping Giants.” Recording at Bear Creek studios in Seattle, the Cerny Brothers teamed up with producers Jerry Streeter and Ryan Hadlock, who have previously worked with Brandi Carlile and The Lumineers.

“Jerry Streeter, who we worked with in Seattle, he guided us more the electric guitar way,” Scott Cerny said. “He was more excited about those songs.”

With The Cerny Brothers straying from the acoustic-based music, Hickman discussed the pitfalls of solely remaining within that genre.

“There’s a trend now with that kind of music — sleepy acoustic guitar, people strumming away,” he said. “It gets tiring after a while and he [Streeter] got tired of it. He was just excited about the project and it felt natural. We never felt like we were being pulled in one direction.”

Throughout recording, The Cerny Brothers took away more than a new sound, as Hickman said they learned the benefits of collaboration.

“People say that you need to be an independent, self-sufficient artist to make it, but I don’t believe that,” Hickman said. “The more people you have around you, that believe in you and are working with you, the easier it is for you to make great music. It just pushes you to do great things.” 

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 30 print edition. Email Alexa Spieler at [email protected] 

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